When you work in the Pomerantz Center, like the library people do, it can seem like FIT life takes place far away. In order for us to find out more about programs on campus, we have field trips. Last November, we took a tour of the Textile Quality Assurance Lab, the Textile Coloration Lab, and the Knit Lab. Professor Jeffrey Silberman was kind enough to show us around.
The FIT Textile Development and Marketing program is one of the more technically oriented programs here at the school. The curriculum explores the science of textile testing, dyeing, and finishing. The TDM faculty also work with industry professionals on quality standard testing projects, because FIT has both the knowledgeable personnel and the awesome Quality Assurance Lab.
In addition, these labs are where students learn basic textile chemistry, which includes testing to identify fibers, learn about solvents and fiber-chemical reactions (i.e. have you every spilled nail polish remover on an acetate lining?), as well as experiment with dyes and dye plants.
My favorite part of the tour was the micro-climatized booth where the students are currently growing indigo. I didn’t get a picture, though. Just one of this batch of drying camomile, which makes a yellow dye.
After we explored the various testing labs, Professor Silberman took us over to the Feldman building basement knitting lab. Many of the library crew are hand knitters, so this was of particular interest to us.
We were fortunate that our visit coincided with student work times. We got to see one of the large bed fine gauge knitting machines knit up a sleeve that is part of a student’s semester project.
Professor Silberman pointed out that most students don’t dream of becoming textile techs, but it is where a lot of textile design students get jobs. I know that when I was an assistant designer, a lot of my day to day responsibilities included checking color lab dips and print goods qualities, so I cannot recommend getting some textile science background highly enough. The FIT Library thanks Professor Silberman again for this fun and informative tour!